Tag Archives: design

Volume One of Ships of the Fleet now available for pre-order

I am please to announce that my often mentioned side project Ships of the Fleet – Battleships is now avaliable for pre-order on Amazon.

Cover SotF Vol 1 Battleships BLOG

In the forty years since First Contact, humanity has gone from a species confined to a single world, to one that has expanded across the stars. Along side this march, has been the battleship.

This illustrated guide traces the rise and development of the battleship, through years of the Contact War to the present day – covering the shifting technological, strategic and political factors which have influenced the development of these vessels. This fascinating study is an indispensable guide for any student of starship design and fans of the Nameless War series.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.UK

This book covers

Resilient (Contact War)


Resolution Class

G2 Class Battlecruiser

Titan Class

Warspite Class

The people have just had a sample sent out to enjoy, the entries for Fortitude and Warspite are going to remain available here to enjoy.


Filed under Book Three of the Nameless War, Ship design, Ships of the Fleet

Ships of the Fleet Fortitude

Fortitude Class Battleship
Profile fortitudeBackground
The end of the Contact War saw an inevitable drop in the tempo of starship building as the exhausted but victorious Battle Fleet paused to take stock. By necessity, the first generation of human warships had been hastily designed and built. Within their limitations they had performed well, but equally there had been glaring flaws. These mostly manifested themselves in the form of poor fuel efficiency and reliability, as well as excessive heat build-up, which in turn limited jump range. All of these problems stemmed from a common source – humanity’s incomplete understanding of the advanced space faring technology it had obtained. The fleet’s first and at that point only battleship the Resilient, was beyond the point of economic repair and with the pressures of time and military necessity removed, there seemed no reason to seek a replacement for her. The fleet wanted time to mature the core technologies the next generation of ships would rely on in smaller cheaper vessels, before embarking on another major construction project.
In the decade following the war, the role of the battleship and whether it even had one, was the subject of an at times ill-tempered debate within Battle Fleet. Three competing schools of thought formed, all of which cited aspects of Resilient’s short life as evidence in support of their views.

The first envisioned the battleship as the primary assault ship, shielding the smaller cruisers during the approach before pinning down enemy heavy units in close combat. The second argued for their deployment as defensive units, much as Resilient had been originally conceived, best kept close to Earth and fixed installations, where they could sacrifice range and habitability for combat capacity – in essence a semi-mobile fortress, drawing fire away from the cruisers. The final school saw battleships as expensive and unnecessary luxuries that reduced the number of all-important cruisers the fleet could field.

What the three schools did have in common was the belief that the battleship was of secondary importance to the cruiser and also that its role extended no further than the edge of Earth’s solar system. With such divided counsel it is scarcely surprising that the fleet opted to build no battleships at all. It was only in 2042 with the failed invasion of Dryad by the Tample star nation of Rizr, that clarity and urgency was brought to the question.

While defeat of the invasion finally put to rest lingering suggestions that Battle Fleet was an organisation that had outlived its intended purpose, fleet commanders were uncomfortably aware of how close they had come to defeat. The fleet had correctly estimated that clash between humanity and the Rizr would pit quality against quantity. With this in mind, tactical planning emphasised using speed and manoeuvrability to gain advantage. However, tactical conditions had forced most of the Battle Fleet units to stand their ground and engage in a straight up fight. The brand new River Class cruiser Amazon had taken significant damage holding off the Tample and but for the efforts of the aging raiding cruiser Onslaught, would likely have been overwhelmed. The Tample star nations weren’t the only threat. The Aèllr Confederacy’s Defence Fleet, after a decade of muddled thinking, had arrested its slow decline and was starting a major new shipbuilding programme. Not only was something more powerful than a cruiser needed, but a vessel that could operate beyond Earth’s solar system. To this end Battle Fleet requested funding for the construction of a class of three battleships. In 2042 authorisation was granted for two.
Fortitude beauty shot
Unlike Resilient over a decade earlier, Fortitude would not be limited to cruiser dimensions. Larger dockyards were now available and the fleet was determined to build to the limits of those docks to achieve a better and more rounded design. After exploring a number of alternatives, the design team’s first offerings followed approximately the same layout used in the fleet’s post-war cruisers, with the main armament in four turrets, with the rear pair raised so it could to superfire. Unlike the cruisers, these turrets would each mount three guns, which would grant the capacity to bring all twelve guns to bear across a wide arc. Fuel and stores would be sufficient to reach Dryad without refuelling. Propulsion would come from four of the brand new Rolls Royce Double Zeus engines, which promised a level of acceleration that would actually exceed most contemporary cruisers. Finally, the greater dimensions provided space for enhanced command and control facilities, which would allow the ship to serve as a command vessel.
While fleet commanders were broadly impressed, it was felt that a gun armament only fifty percent heavier than the Continental Class Cruisers that were also under design was inadequate and might see the ship quickly rendered obsolete. Quad turrets and a third pair of turrets mounted on the flanks were examined and rejected. Instead, the design saw the return of sponson weapon mounts for the first time since the Contact War. This gave the ship a total gun armament of sixteen plasma cannons, up to fourteen of which would be able to fire into the broadside. In addition, the ship would have four missile launchers in fixed mounts. Armour would be substantial, not only in terms of thickness but also in the percentage of the ship’s volume that would be protected. It was calculated that the main armoured belt would be immune to plasma cannon fire beyond forty thousand kilometres. With design accepted, construction began in 2044.
Fortitude was approximately ninety percent complete, on schedule and – rather uniquely for a government contract – on budget, when fleet intelligence dropped a bombshell. By means that remain classified, reading had been obtained from the commissioning tests of the Confederacy’s Rqwe class battleship, Avar. Intelligence sources had been puzzled by the fact that despite being of markedly larger than Fortitude, these newest Aèllr capital ships mounted only eight guns. Data obtained showed that while still plasma based, these weapons were more destructive per shot, with longer range. Dubbed heavy plasma cannons, these weapons effectively rendered Fortitude obsolete before she had even entered service.
Work on the ship was suspended for nearly a year as the fleet undertook a crash programme to develop its own heavy plasma cannons. However, it soon became apparent that these weapons would be too big to fit into Fortitude’s turrets. To enlarge these, the barbettes they rested upon would have had to be widened, which in turn would have meant virtually rebuilding the ship. The fleet reluctantly concluded that to modify the ship to accept the new weapons would be cost prohibitive and politically damaging. Therefore the ship would be completed as originally designed. The second ship of the class however was still at the preliminary stages of construction and ultimately this vessel would be completed as the first of the Resolution class battleships.
Fortitude sideFortitude front and backFortitude topService
While unquestionably outmoded by the time she entered service, Fortitude was by a wide margin still the most powerful human starship yet built. Upon commissioning she was immediately stationed at Dryad as flagship for the newly formed Second Fleet. It is widely believed that her presence during this period was the single largest factor in dissuading the Tample star nation of Rizr from making a second attempt to seize the system. While Fortitude never engaged Tample ships in combat, between shows of strength and goodwill tours, she became a regular sight among the star nations.

Fortitude served with no more than routine maintenance for thirteen years. It was only in 2058 that she was finally withdrawn for a by now long-overdue modernisation. The reason she had soldiered on for so long without significant modification was due to disagreement at the highest levels over what to do with the ship. Aside from the deficiencies with her armament, she had performed well. However, that weakness left her occupying an uncomfortable middle ground – too weakly armed to stand in the line against her Aèllr contemporaries, yet equally just too slow to match the pace of the newest generation of cruisers. The preferred option would have been to rebuild the ship to match the specifications of her half sisters, in effect turn Fortitude into a Resolution. But the global depression in the 2050s, with its knock-on effects on the fleet’s budget, ruled this out. Instead the fleet opted the go down a different route.

During the Contact War activities of the raiding cruiser Onslaught had succeeded in forcing the Aèllr to station a significant number of first line warships around Confederacy worlds and their main shipping lanes. However, as a lightly armed and virtually unarmoured vessel, Onslaught had been vulnerable to combat damage, making any encounter with an armed opponent a gamble. A heavy raider was a concept that had repeatedly been suggested (see entry G2), a vessel not obliged to shrink from combat could do a lot to offset the numerical superiority of the Aèllr Defence Fleet. Additionally, dissatisfaction at the low acceleration of the fleet’s heavy units meant that a fast heavy ship was increasingly seen as desirable.

With this in mind, the objective of the refit became to produce a vessel capable of outrunning anything she could not outgun. The modernisation saw the replacement of original Double Zeus engines with Goblin IIIs, plus the complete removal of the sponson mounts. This increase of thrust and reduction of mass increased maximum acceleration by almost eight percent, giving Fortitude a clear acceleration margin over not only anything in her weight class but indeed all but the fastest cruisers. Some sources refer to her from this point as a battlecruiser but the fleet’s designation remained battleship.

Officially Fortitude’s role in the event of war would be to act as a cruiser killer, able to chase down lighter units while avoiding heavier opponents. The fleet’s wargames have stressed this role, which in turn was instrumental in the development of the Warspite class fast battleships. However, commentators have postulated that in the event of a second war between Earth and the Aèllr, the ship would have immediately been dispatched over the Confederacy’s border. The seriousness of the threat Fortitude presented to the Confederacy’s internal lines of communication was recognised by the Aèllr and can be directly attributed to the development of the Gqrru class, second-class battleships.  However Fortitude’s post refit career was to be a short one. In 2063, three years after her modernisation, she was reduced to the reserve, to free resources to allow for the construction of the Warspite class. It is understood that at present the fleet considers Fortitude to be in good condition and has no plans to dispose of her.
Fortitude post modernised
Fortitude was first and foremost a vessel caught out by a change in technology. While her core design proved solid, the problems with her armament ultimately resulted in a ship that fell far short of her design objectives. Against her likely Aèllr opponents, the only thing she could do better was run. This left her unable to meet her central role. That said, her armament combined with her size and speed certainly meant that she could overawe the lesser powers of the Tample star nations, who during her service career were to prove the most immediate threat.

Therefore the perception that Fortitude was essentially a failure is somewhat unfair. While it is true that her weak armament always hamstrung the ship, this is not an error that can be laid at the doors of either the designers or those who commissioned her. Fortitude effectively fell victim to a change in technology that could not have been reasonably foreseen. As the fleet’s first post-war and interstellar battleship, much was learned from both her construction and operation, with the introduction of many features, which at the time were innovative and novel.

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Ships of the Fleet – Sparrow Class Destroyer


The end of the Contact War found Battle Fleet facing a number of unique challenges as it moved forward into the post war period. Under the pressures of the conflict, the first generation of human starships had designed and built without any fundamental understanding of many of the key technologies. Instead human designers were forced to copy blindly without an understanding of why particular features were necessary. The post war Foundation Program promised to solve this problem (see entry RIVER CLASS for more details) but in the short term the Battle Fleet faced both a serious capability gap and a danger that without growth, political will for what was in effect a stateless military might fade. So while it was important that the fleet begin to make good its wartime losses, it was equally important not to financially commit too deep to a generation of ships which were likely to become obsolete in a fairly short time frame.

sparrow full burn

This combination of factor effectively ruled out the simplest option of building another batch of the comparatively large and expensive Storm Class Cruisers, however the option of building a smaller design out of off the shelf parts promised more possibilities. While the first generation cruisers had been constructed in what were in effect government shipyards, post war a number of commercial enterprises had entered the sector. The fleet was keen to widen the sector and a class of small ship offered the chance for several companies to gain warship experience.


With speed of the essence, much of the design followed what were at that time established conventions – the hood over the main turret and the bridge mounted below the turret. Still there were some innovations within the design. In all previous designs the missile launchers had been internal to the hull but in such a small ship there would be no room for reloads, so instead these were mounted externally and angled nine degrees off the horizontal. Another break with convention was the mounting of the maneuvering engines.  Set in an X formation rather than the usual cross layout, this was found to offer better performance. This layout reduced the possible firing arcs into the broadside but with the existing turret layout on Sparrow this was found to be acceptable, although it has not been repeated.

Sparrow angles

The design of the bow structure and the housing for the jump drive was another deviation from fleet practice. Formed into an open ‘butterfly’ design, this layout was both lighter and radiated heat better than the fleet’s standard ‘ram bow’ layout. Unfortunately it also gave a stronger radar return, making the vessel a more obvious target and so was not repeated in later warship classes. However the design was to prove highly influential in first generation of civilian starships.


Sparrow entered service in 2038, with the other 8 members of the class following over the next three years. In their first five years in service the Sparrows were engaged in an extensive series of trials and exercises mostly within Earth’s solar system. At the end of this period the fleet had come to the conclusion that as combat vessels the Sparrow Class was of marginal value at best.

While in theory the plasma cannon was capable of striking targets at up to seventy thousand kilometres, the single mount, with it fairly low rate of fire, under combat conditions struggled to hit targets beyond thirty thousand kilometres – suicidal range against an armed opponent. While the lack of armour or even splinter protection, combined with the limited point defence grid meant fighters would present a serious threat.

Battle Fleet had however always accepted that the Sparrow Class would be stepping stones to more capable designs and the experience gained fed into later designs. The development of the light plasma cannon for example, can be traced directly back the Sparrows.

Ambush 2

As a small but homogenous  group the Sparrows were frequently used by the Fleet Tactical Development Section to field test new tactics and frequently ‘role-played’ as much larger ships. Additionally a large number of second line duties fell with the capabilities of the class, particularly perimeter patrol.

The expectation had been been that the class would serve for eight years before being downgraded the pure training ships. The discovery of Dryad, followed by the establishment of Earth’s first extra-solar colony and the greater than expected success of the River Class Cruisers, extended the Sparrow’s front line career to more than fifteen years. With their small heat sink, operations outside of Earth solar system were difficult but the type freed up larger ships for service elsewhere. The aftermath of the abortive Temple invasion of Dryad in 2041 was the only time members of the class spent significant time away from Earth.

Sparrow firing 2

While the class had not been built with upgrades in mind, the lack of armour meant relatively easy access into the ship’s structure, while the fleet’s rapid expansion and need for training ships, meant class continued to be useful enough to justify re-engining and re-reactoring at the end of the 2040’s and it was only in 2059 that the class was finally reduced reserve.


It has often been the case that smaller ships fail because designers or administrators expect too much. The Sparrow class represent a rare occasion where a small ship exceeds expectations. While always ships of modest capabilities the Sparrows continued long beyond their intended lifespan to prove useful in a variety of roles. There most useful role however was to indicate a minimum size for a true starship and all follow on designs having been at least fifty percent larger.

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Ships of the Fleet – Predator Class Destroyer

predator on patrol


The Predators are the largest and newest class of destroyer currently in service with Battle Fleet. The first to be rated as suitable for deep space operations, these multi-role ships are capable of supporting the main battle line, close escort and deep space strike. Currently 15 Predators are in service with the final six expected to be commissioned by 2066.

destroyers on patrol


The Lance and Broadsword classes of destroyers had respectively been designed to provide support for the battle line and as independent strike missile strike vessel. Two effectively specialist designs, neither of had come to be regarded as entirely satisfactory and what now wanted was a vessel capable of performing both roles while still remaining small enough and cheap enough to be built in useful qualities.

Destroyer views


The genesis design of Predator came from a proposal from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in answer to the P475 specification for a light cruiser strike cruiser. While this project was ultimately abandoned due to the budget cuts of the early 2050s, the mix of a heavy missile throw with a substantial point defence grid was regarded highly interesting.

As the fleet had found from previous experience to simply build a diminutive of the P475 cruiser was unlikely to prove fruitful, so instead emphasize was placed on the missile and point defence aspects of the design at the expense of gun power and operational range.

Layout follows what has become the typical destroyer layout, a three part arrangement with primary armament and command functions concentrated in the forward third of the ship, power rooms and engines aft, with an open centrifuge amidships. The folding centrifuge is the first to be used on a Battle Fleet ship and while initially troublesome in service, makes the Predators the first human destroyer to be able to simulate gravity up to a full 1G.


As the fleet only deep space capable destroyers, the Predators have supplanted the River and Continental Class Light Cruisers in the escort role around Dryad. Freeing up these vessels for deep space patrolling. It has been reported that in this role members of the class have involved in a number of live-fire incidents but details remain classified at time of writing. Among their listed wartime roles is deep space strike, while the fleet has not exactly specified what this means analysts believe the type would be used to strike at enemy supply line several systems out from Earth.

Missile strike

Fleet released publicity shot


Length: 116 metres

Beam: 69.50 metres

Height: 48 metres

Armament: Four standard missile launchers, standard load twelve slammer missiles. Four Mk IX light plasma cannons in two twin mounts. Six octuple point defence mounts.

Power Plant: Two Mitsubishi VX18 Fusion reactors

Engines: Two ACAE Iolar and one half Iolar engines.

Crew: 6 officers and 43 crew

Endurance: 34 days standard, 58 days max.

In service: 15

Under construction: 6


The Predator class are taken from the Nameless War setting

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

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Writer Beware

A celebrated children’s author-turned-publisher has left the country, with a trail of unpaid debts and angry authors in her wake.

It started so promisingly and ended so horribly. Twenty months ago Jill Marshall was a local hero, albeit an adopted one. In 2011, Next magazine chose her as its Woman of the Year (arts and culture), an honour still listed on her profile on internet site LinkedIn.

Marshall is now back in England, having left behind a posse of irate and disillusioned authors, a trail of debt and no forwarding address. A “desperately-seeking-Jill” message by one of the authors on Marshall’s Facebook page has gone unanswered, attempts to contact her by email and via the two vice-presidents appointed to her company have proved equally fruitless…

The above quote is take from the New Zealand Herald and the full article can be found here. Now I’ve talked quite a bit about self publishing and traditional publishing but now I’d like to say a word about publishing in general.

For the would be writer I believe we have entered a golden age. With the advent of e-publishing the writer has never had more potential routes to the book buying public. But while there are readers out there, there are also sharks. The vanity press industry has of course a long and inglorious history and somewhat inexplicably still exists. But they aren’t the only ones a writer should beware of.

In the case of the article at the top I would guess1) that the individual in question went in with honest intentions but found herself in over her head. What can be taken from that is that someone can be honest but that doesn’t make them competent.

So what I my watch out for points? Well…

1) Money. Lets start with the sordid one. If a ‘publisher’ can make money without you making money, that’s not a warning sign, it’s all the reason you should need to walk away2).

2) Know what level you’re aiming for and develop the necessary skills. Self publishing mean developing certain computer skills3). Traditional publishing means entering into business relationships4). Either way do the research to know what you’re getting into – do not assume it-will-be-all-right-on-the-night.

3) Research anyone/organization you deal with. There are plenty of places on the net where other writers will have reported the dishonest and inept. Find them.

At the end of the day if you have written a book, then what you have is probably the fruits of several years of effort. You have likely poured yourself into it and regardless to what it is, how good it is or how you would like to put it out to the world you are proud of it. Don’t you want to stay proud? You don’t want in a few years time to be looking back on it with anger and bitterness because you or someone else screwed it up.

So take a step back, engage what in the world of accountancy is called Professional Scepticism to take a cold hard look at your options, then proceed.



1) Emphasis on the word ‘guess’

2) Obviously there are a couple of qualifiers to that statement. If you self pub editors and cover designers are going to be paid before you make anything. But the point is these individuals offer only one service. Anyone calling themselves a publisher is in theory offering the full range of services needed to bring the book to market. If they’re looking for you to pony up cash… well then you’re effectively taking all the financial risks of self publishing without the potential rewards or put more succinctly – a sucker.

3) Which are surprisingly limited. I am not a computer expert and my first port of call when the computer acts up is to swear at it. After that I generally muddle through.

4) It is especially important that once contracts are mentioned you damn well read it. If it is over your head get someone with the necessary know-how and training to read it. Sign without knowing what you’re signing is just asking to be ripped off.

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

The Job Offer, available on Kindle Smashwords and Kobo.

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Aéllr Vélrre (Province) Class Heavy cruiser

Aéllr Vélrre Class Heavy cruiser

Province class Cruiser 3
The Vélrre Class (English translation: Province Class by which it will be here after referred to as) has been the workhorse of the Aéllr Defence Fleet and the most visible symbol of the Confederations military strength. Although the class is to date not believed to have fired a shot in anger, encounters between members of the class and Battle Fleet ships are common on the frontier regions and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Provinces versus the Human Myth Class remain a firm favorite of armchair admirals.


While technically victorious(1), the end of the Contact War was catastrophic for the Aéllr Defence Fleet. Physically victorious but psychologically shattered, the exit from the Defence Force on mass by the veterans of the war stripped it of much the experience hard won in the war against humanity. The ten years following the Treaty of Mars were characterized by both a lack of manpower and political indifference to the fleet’s requests for funds as Aéllr society largely turned its back on the fleet. What funds could be sourced were expended on the new battleship program(2) and system defence boats. The cruiser fleet, which made up the bulk of the interstellar fleet was ignored. So as humanity started to develop and build its second generation of cruisers, the Defence Fleet was forced to largely make do with increasingly worn pre-war and wartime designs.

The respective discovery of the Mhar by the Aéllr and Humans at the start of the 2040s would prove the trigger for a reinvigorated Defence Force.  The Aéllr sought to gain an ally on humanities right flank but in 2045 at the Treaty of the Three Planets, the collection of aged Aéllr cruisers dispatched to represent the strength of the Confederacy, were completely overshadowed by the presence of a powerful force of human warships including the brand new Battleship Fortitude. While this show of force ensured that humanity was able to present itself as an equal to the Aéllr it also proved – as the Defence Force’s leadership had been warning for years – that despite the vast difference in economic strength, the Aéllr Confederacy enjoyed no meaningful superiority in military quantity or quality. In the event of a human first strike, the Confederation might be defeated long before its vastly greater economic strength could be mustered. When Alfha Qehie was appointed to the post Fleet Senior in 2046 her first priority was to develop new generation of cruisers to both strengthen and re-invigoration of the Defence Force.

The Contact War had been largely fought within Earth’s solar system, with a human fleet of true interstellar cruiser  it was anticipated in the event of a second war, the Defence Fleet would have to fight its way towards Earth. But much like in the first war, human raiding cruisers would be dispatched into Confederation space(3). Therefore while the Defence Fleet needed a platform sufficiently robust and well armed to stand in the main battleline, it also had to be small and cheap enough to be built in numbers.
Province class Cruiser 2

Province Class over the Mhar homeworld


While a number of small test cruisers had been designed and built since the end of the Contact War, the Province Class would be the first major cruiser design since the wartime WaLivt Class Heavy Cruisers. Given the changes to military and political environment since then this experience was of limited usefulness. In addition designer were also faced with a political dimension unknown to their human counterparts. While the most virulent of the anti military sentiment of the 2030’s had faded, a pure military vessel following the human model remained politically unacceptable. The Defence Fleet decided to make virtue out of a vice and develop a hull larger than at first they intended. While all designs are by their nature compromises, much as Battle Fleet did a decade earlier with its River Class, the Aéllr realised a larger ship required fewer such compromises.

While described by some observers as revolutionary, the Provinces have proved far more evolutionary, following and refining existing Aéllr design philosophy. Given the long standing Aéllr aversion to casualties, the Provinces place a greater emphasis on ship and crew survival within a given tonnage than their human counterparts. The layout followed existing Aéllr conventions with the main armament is concentrated in the forward section. This section is also believed to house stores and auxiliary craft. The distinctive offsetting of the plasma cannon turrets allows for better firing arcs astern at the slight expense of the broadside arcs. Astern of the three point centrifuge is storage, auxiliary craft and the engineering spaces. To date there have been four batches of Province Class cruiser, each with incremental improvements. The Batch Three were the first to receive the two gun drones which have become a feature of Aéllr warships.

Province class Cruiser 1

Province Class sighted on border patrol Circa 2055

While the combat performance of the Provinces remains unproven, the appearance of these large modern cruisers laid to rest the myth of the Aéllr unwillingness to fight. Prior to their introduction there had been suggestions in some quarters on Earth that Battle Fleet should assume a more aggressive posture in the border regions. The appearance of the Provinces made clear the the Confederacy lacked neither the will nor the means to defend itself and were probably instrumental in the One-for-Two declaration of 2055. While Batch one ships have been mothballed, it is expected the class as a whole will remain in service until at least the 2080s.

(1)Although it would be decades before the Confederation would learn it had come within hours of dictating terms.

(2) Which would in time yield excellent results in the form of the Autumn Shadow Class.

(3) Declassified Battle Fleet documents have confirmed that in the event of war during the 2040s at least one River Class Cruiser would have been dispatched to act as a raider.

Author Notes

I may well be returning this to one at some point in the future as my old computer basically hit the wall when it came to the computer model. There were a number of details – like the gun drones – I would have liked to have added but the processor and my patience threatened to melt.

This one was an interesting one to do, even though the Aéllr have never been centre stage in either of my books, I’ve always had a desire to explore them more thoroughly. They were to be the main opponent in my lost book and their technology is fairly similar that of Battle Fleet (or to be more precise humanity had borrowed a lot from them) but I wanted to see if I could design something that used similar elements but was clearly different. Okay I’ve ended up with the SF cliché of grey slab-sided human ships and curved alien ships but no-one is perfect

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